Levine. Louis. Women's Garment Workers, Manuscript.

Collection Number: 6036/005

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


Levine. Louis. Women's Garment Workers, Manuscript., 1924-1924
Collection Number:
Levine, Louis
2.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs.
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
This collection includes drafts of Louis Levine's "The Women's Garment Workers" (1924), notes and collected materials about the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Collection material in English


Founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States, the ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, political influence to become one of the most powerful forces in American organized labor by mid-century. Representing workers in the women's garment industry, the ILGWU worked to improve working and living conditions of its members through collective bargaining agreements, training programs, health care facilities, cooperative housing, educational opportunities, and other efforts. In 1995, the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE).


Louis Levine (Lewis Lorwin) was a noted economist and labor historian. He was born in the Ukraine on December 3, 1883. After coming to the United States as a young boy and studying both in the U. S. and abroad, he received a Ph. D. from Columbia University in 1912. Levine was an economic advisor for the New York State Labor Department from 1912 to 1916. He held numerous lecturer and professorship positions at colleges and universities across the country including Columbia, Wellesley College, University of Montana, and Beloit College. Levine was a staff member at the Brookings Institution from 1925 to 1935 and also taught and served as acting director at the Brookings Graduate School of Economics and Government. In 1934, Levine helped to found the National Planning Association, and beginning in 1935, he was an economic advisor to the International Labor Office in Geneva. During the 1940s, Levine served as an economic advisor to various agencies including the National Resources Planning Board, the Foreign Economic Administration, and the Office of International Trade in the Department of Commerce.
Levine authored many books on economics and international relations such as "The Labor Movement in France," "The Taxation of Mines in Montana," and "The Women's Garment Workers." In 1961, Levine was the recipient of the John Dewey Medal from the League for Industrial Democracy. He died in June 1970 at the age of 86.


Published in 1924, "The Women's Garment Workers" is a comprehensive history of the first twenty four years of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. The book also provides background information on the women's garment industry, its beginnings, early conditions, struggles, and the initial attempts at unionization which laid the foundation for the birth of the ILGWU. The collection encompasses author Louis Levine's research and notes for "The Women's Garment Workers," offering a glimpse into his writing process. Included are handwritten notes by Levine reviewing AFL convention proceedings to find references to the ILGWU, and notes and research on benefits, such as death, disability, sick and strike. There are clippings and collected articles on various topics along with Levine's notes on subjects ranging from Chicago cloak makers, the cloak and suit industry, and financial information. Levine took notes after reviewing the General Executive Board meeting minutes. Also available is material from various locals. Part of the collection is arranged by specific topics, including organizing, hours and wages, socialism, strike reports, as well as miscellaneous material at the end of the collection arranged by date. The other half of the collection is arranged by chapters for the book and contains notes, research, facts and dates. Of particular interest to the researcher is the large amount of research and primary sources that Levine has collected for the purpose of writing his book that provides historical information on the ILGWU.

Levine, Louis.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union -- Archives.

Form and Genre Terms:


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
Levine. Louis. Women's Garment Workers, Manuscript. #6036/005. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records


Box 1 Folder 1
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Box 1 Folder 16
Box 2 Folder 1
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Box 2 Folder 5
Box 2 Folder 6 1913-1914
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Box 3 Folder 1
Box 3 Folder 2
Box 3 Folder 3
Box 3 Folder 4 1912-1913
Box 3 Folder 5 1918-1922
Box 3 Folder 6 1912-1916
Box 3 Folder 7
Box 3 Folder 8 1915-1916
Box 3 Folder 9
Box 3 Folder 10 1914-1923
Box 4 Folder 1 1916
Box 4 Folder 2
Box 4 Folder 3
Box 4 Folder 4
Box 4 Folder 5
Box 4 Folder 6 1924-1932
Includes letter from Fannia Cohn.
Box 4 Folder 7
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Box 4 Folder 11
Box 4 Folder 12
Box 4 Folder 13
Box 4 Folder 14
Box 4 Folder 15
Box 4 Folder 16 1914-1916
Box 4 Folder 17 1915-1924
Box 4 Folder 18 1922
Box 4 Folder 19
Box 4 Folder 20 1923-1924
Box 4 Folder 21
Box 4 Folder 22
Box 4 Folder 23
Box 4 Folder 24
Box 4 Folder 25
Box 5 Folder 1
Box 5 Folder 2
Box 5 Folder 3 1909-1910
Chapter 21, part 3.
Box 5 Folder 4 1920-1921
Box 5 Folder 5 1913-1916
Box 5 Folder 6
Box 5 Folder 7
Box 5 Folder 8 1918-1923
Box 5 Folder 9 1913-1914
Box 5 Folder 10 1910-1914
Box 5 Folder 11 1903-1907
Box 5 Folder 12 1900-1910